What has gone wrong with the marriages we have today? Where did we miss it? How did we even get here?
These were the thoughts that kept going through my mind as I sat by my balcony, recalling the debate I had overheard little Joshua, my 10 year old neighbour have with his mother.
Since when did it become okay to raise children in broken homes?
I was almost in tears that night as I listened to little Joshua, demand explanations from his mum; why they were not living with his dad, her husband, like other of his schoolmates were, he wanted to know why they were not a complete family and why he was going to have a second dad, when everyone he knew had one including her.
It broke my heart when he uttered the words “my dad is not perfect, but you have to forgive him, isn’t that what you would tell me to do?”
It reminded me of the saying; we don’t really fall out of love, what truly happens is that we fall out of forgiveness.
We can’t take it anymore….he/she has made one too many mistakes….we get tired of the apologies, and so we settle for the worse of it all…a divorce.
It leaves me wondering….were the marriages in the times of our parents and grandparents, any easier? Or were they void of all these troubles, or was it just that, in their time, they weren’t trained to give up on a marriage, when it became inconveniencing, it was either they made it work or they died trying. Tough one isn’t it? But that’s exactly the kind of lessons that were taught to our parents, especially our mothers before they verged into marriage, and if the truth be told, that’s exactly the vow we make at the altar, before God, to each other and before the crowd of witnesses on our very special day “…..for better, for worse, till death do us part”. This doesn’t in any way suggest that stays in a physically abusive relationship (you have to be alive for the children), it only demands for one to know what he/she is getting into before beginning the journey at all. Our parents saw marriage for what it was and still is, they went in ready and prepared for the battles when they came, they were aware that nothing is ever 100% and even when it resulted to some of them having to be separated for some time, they did that with hopes of getting it right and coming back together at a later time. They never completely gave up on their marriages, which is what getting a divorce suggests, that I am completely against. It brings to a close, to an end something you both vowed to keep and protect till the end of your lives. It has even become a means to get out for the young wives these days, when the heat got too hot in their homes, a way out when they got tired of trying.
I once heard from a popular celebrity, with a thriving marriage, say; “marriage is no fairy tale, it isn’t a bed of roses, there will always be frictions, but it’s how you deal with it that matters”. There are no marriages, no matter how seemingly successful that has had it easier, Our parents didn’t have it easy either, but they fought for it, for us, they are the only reasons why the issue of divorce still stands as a big deal in this part of the world, in a time like this. I believe they would have had more concrete reasons to have filed for a divorce, considering how the marriage system in those days were, but they chose to fight, because if u give up on family when it got tough, it goes a long way to show how much value you’ve placed on it after all.
Clearly, little Josh’s reaction all came new to his mother, who was of the opinion that herself and Josh were doing just fine without Tony, his dad, even though he came on visits. But not to me, I had watched from my window, on several occasions, how this little boy would beg his father not to leave on the days when he came on visits. I knew it was only going to be a matter of time, before he started asking questions, and demanding answers, because, kids won’t remain little forever…
Children need both parents around while growing, the world is already tough as it is, the older they get, the more they begin to feel the pressure of society on their shoulders, from school to everything that entails survival in this world, they shouldn’t have to add dealing with separated parents to the list, the last thing these kids want is to go home only to be reminded that neither school nor home is a safe haven for them. A family together, irrespective of the issues that may arise from time to time at home, gives the child some sense of stability, such that in as much as everything may not go so great out there in the world, their home will always be their safe haven, A place where they know that they will always be accepted, a place where you can never make mistakes enough to be rejected, and that’s what family is all about.
Amongst other reasons, this most certainly, accounts for a high number of emotional destroyed and troubled kids that we have today, who would eventually take to finding solace in harmful drugs or any other thing that they believe will compensate for the inadequacies from home.
The home, the complete home, is a safe haven for children…. We shouldn’t deny them of this, or take it away from them.
Marriage is work, marriage is hard work, marriage is time,
and a successful marriage doesn’t come by accident, it is
Intentional, based on the investments of both partner…. it will will demand a lot of sacrifices, it will entail us going the extra extra miles wen the need arises, it will demand us swallowing some hard, throat throbbing just to save our homes, because true love doesn’t always choose its own way. Something’s you would have to pay blind eyes and deaf ears to, mistakes of each other you’ll have to forgive, over and over again, both the ones apologized for and the ones that aren’t. So get ready, because sometimes in loving, it will seem as though you are foolish, but in the end you’ll realize that true wisdom is sometimes foolishness to others and while Love doesn’t prevent divorce, wisdom does, and so does understanding too. Our children deserve a taste this type of home, we owe it to them, because our parents paid the price to give it to us.
To the wedded couples out there, it is your marriage and you have to make it work, you must see it as your only shot at this thing called marriage, give it your best shot.
This is the kind of love we should be teaching the next generation, that no matter what, we never give up on family.
You owe it to each other to make it work, despite the cost, you owe it to your children, and you owe it to God.
To those, yet to tie the knot, I’ll leave you with this quote from Myles munroe; “marriage is like an omelet, once you’ve made it, you can’t have your egg back”.
So before you crack with another egg, find out if that’s who you’re ready to be an omelet with for the rest of your life. Forever is a long time to rush into just anything, for any reason at all, Look before you leap, don’t rush in, only to rush out. A failed relationship is better than a failed marriage.
You bring to your marriage, only what you are as a single, there are no miracles at the altar.
Finally, Invest in your spiritual growth, it is the source of every marriage strength, if you are spiritually empty, you may not journey far.
Marriage is a God ordained affair, going into it, with the intention of keeping God out of it, will only bring it to a quick end. For therein lies the secret to keeping your vows, the last part of the vow….”so help me God”. Only He can help you.
To our married hard working aunties, uncles and friends, good or bad, with your knees on the ground, you will be glad you did in the end. Our children are watching, let’s give them a model of the kind of family, they too should be working towards to.
A lot of damage is done already but I believe we can still do something about it. It begins with you and me, and the choices we make today. Good or bad, there will always be consequences…make your choices, with the consequences in mind.
OZIOKO LILIAN GINIKA